2016 NFL Playoff Simulation

Using probabilities from our five NFL Playoff Models, we have run a number of simulations for the upcoming 2016 NFL Playoffs. This allows us to estimate how often each team makes the division round, conference championship, Super Bowl, and ultimately win the Super Bowl. In order to do this, we took each game and generated a random number between 0 and 1. If the random number is less than our predicted probability of the home team winning, then we advance the home team as the winner of that game (and vice versa if the random number is greater than our probability). For example, Model 1 has a probability of 0.85 that the Houston Texans will beat the Oakland Raiders. If the random number is 0.95, we would pick the Raiders to advance, and if the random number is 0.55, we would pick the Texans to advance. This methodology was applied to the entire NFL Playoff bracket, running 10,000 Playoff simulations for each of our five models (so, each model generates 10,000 brackets and 10,000 super bowl champions).

The table below displays the outcomes across all 50,000 simulations (10,000 from each model). The Model clearly believes in Tom Brady and Bill Belichick steam rolling their way to the Super Bowl (56.1%) in their quest to take down Roger Goodell. Even without Rob Gronkowski, our models give the Patriots a 22.7% chance of winning the Super Bowl. Goodell might have to administer a “random” drug test to one LeGarrette Blount if he wants to stop them. Despite Kansas City and Atlanta having first round byes, the model believes Seattle and Pittsburgh have better odds to make and win the Super Bowl. Lastly, we would advise not to bet any money on Miami winning the Super Bowl.

If we compare our probabilities of each team winning the Super Bowl to the current Vegas odds, there are a few teams that stand out as a good values. First off, our models give the Seattle Seahawks a 19.3% chance of winning the Super Bowl, whereas Vegas currently has them at +1400 to win it all (the implied probability of a +1400 bet is 1/15, or 6.7%). Similarly, our models give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 14.2% chance to win, while they are currently +900 in Vegas (or 1/10 = 10.0%). Following a similar exercise, our models consider the Chiefs (+1000), Packers (+950), and Giants (+1800) poorly valued bets.

Team Make Div Round Make Conf Champ Make Super Bowl Win Super Bowl
 NE 93.1% 56.1% 22.7%
 DAL 70.3% 37.3% 19.7%
SEA 93.1% 46.0% 29.1% 19.3%
 PIT 94.1% 59.4% 29.3% 14.2%
 ATL 50.1% 22.3% 10.9%
 KC 38.6% 8.9% 4.1%
 GB 63.4% 15.7% 5.2% 2.6%
NYG 36.6% 14.0% 4.7% 1.9%
 HOU 70.1% 4.5% 2.9% 1.7%
OAK 29.9% 2.4% 2.8% 1.7%
DET 6.9% 3.9% 1.4% 1.0%
MIA 5.9% 2.0% <1% <1%